I read Alex Garland’s thriller The Beach when I was in my twenties, even before the movie came out. At the time, I was probably in the target age group, too.
There was one short scene in this book that for some strange reason always stuck with me.
The main character looks up at the starlit sky and muses about space and infinity: if space is infinite, then that must mean that an infinite number of things could happen. In fact, anything that could possibly happen is actually happening somewhere in space and time because there can’t be any limitations in infinity, right?
He reasons that there must then be an infinite number of parallel universes somewhere in infinity; because they could exist, they must exist. Parallel planets otherwise similar to ours, where other versions of ourselves exist but where different life choices were made, resulting in our parallel lives continuing on different paths accordingly.
I find this line of thought fascinating.
I wonder which of my duplicates out there is the happiest and what choices of mine led her there?
Was it a small, everyday choice I didn’t even pay attention to?
In my life, I’ve often made the choice to travel instead of investing in daily life. I like to think that collecting experiences is more important than collecting physical possessions, but I completely understand and accept people with the opposite life philosophy. A lot of times people ask me how I can afford to travel, while they happily spend money on everything else (things that I have learned to live without).
There’s a time for everything and as I’ve grown older, I’ve lost some of my nomadic qualities in favor of the comforts of having a nice home. But I’ll probably never stop traveling altogether. There are many “right” ways to live our lives, for those of us who are fortunate enough to make choices.
(The featured photo in this post is one of the little islands in my Island Pattern post. In the comments section, one blogger referred to this bridge as the “bridge to nowhere”, which I thought sounds appropriately exotic and adds an interesting atmosphere to the picture. So thank you for that!)